An open letter to the “other ones”

By: Debbie Moore-Black, RN

Hi Mary and Susan and Heather and Ashley and Cathy and anyone else I’m sure I missed.
I was twenty something when I met him. He was smart and funny and different. And I desperately wanted something “different.”
I wanted to be set free from my strict Catholic upbringing. From my domineering mother and IBM executive father turned alcoholic. I wanted to shed the confessionals on Thursday, the mass on Friday and then church again on Sunday. The screams and haunts that failed to escape me of being told over and over again that I was dumb and stupid and fat. I wanted to explore and dance and sing.

And there you were.
The strangest man. 1978. With your Afro hair and long beard and beady blue eyes and a thin body as you smoked cigarette after cigarette.
We listened to the Doors and Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd as we stared into each other’s eyes.
You told me I was beautiful and smart and talented. I desperately grabbed on to this… those breadcrumbs of love.
You became my everything.
My heart and soul.
Can you imagine being this beautiful porcelain doll, and someone comes and smashes you with a hammer? Smashes you to shreds?
That was me.
I loved you. You were my everything. We had three beautiful children. I loved them even more; as I had to learn to build my life around them, and not you.
I preached to others “Women’s liberation.” Unchain yourself, I even hyphenated my last name. Strange thing though, was that I was really trapped. I didn’t know how to escape.
You were my “magic man” until I found out the truth.
And then the hammer that came down on me, also came down on my spirit.
Our children loved you. We all played fairly well… except for the screaming fights of me begging you to get a second job or a better job as I worked my 60 hours a week as a nurse. I was exhausted but I knew someone had to do it. Or of that “next time” you were unfaithful to me. Many various affairs with other women. The marriage counseling, the therapy sessions never made you stop. I was a wounded soldier, craving for this man to love me. And finally realizing it would never happen.
Breadcrumbs of love.
Everyone loved you, your folks at work, the community, even the church. You also loved their adulation towards you.

Narcissism is a strange disease. It’s a self-serving one. And you get wrapped up into yourself. And I was left behind. Forgotten.
And after 34 years of marriage, I was finally ready for a divorce…. because you had one more. One more woman to love other than me.
And I didn’t divorce because he received his death notice. Liver and pancreatic and lung cancer ravaged his body. And I just couldn’t make my children take care of him. I knew it would be hard, but I just couldn’t make them deal with this pain.

So, Mary and Susan and Heather and Ashley and Cathy and all the rest…. where were you when he lost over 40 lbs, stopped eating, skeletal and jaundiced? Where were you when he climbed out of bed, only sometimes falling to the floor or urinating on the floor? Where were you when he accidentally had a bowel movement in the bed? Where were you when he tried to flush towels down the toilet?
And even at the end, the funeral. Where were you? Did you forget to come and pay this man homage?

So whether you’re a man or woman and you’re in it for the thrill. Or in it for fun.. you all, including him, played havoc on my life. My psyche.

His ashes were scattered across the mountain top. And I swore to myself…. never again.

I trust few. But every day I heal, I hug and cuddle my dogs. I laugh with my children and grand-babies… and I carry on.

IF you are in a domestic abusive, cruel, negative, demoralizing partnership, get out! I plead with you loud and clear. Get out. No one deserves this life.
It’s never too late.

The Center for relationship abuse awareness
800.799.7233
(800.799.SAFE)

National Domestic Violence Hotline
800.799.7233
If you are in immediate danger call: 911

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